Since their creation, bras have transformed and evolved. Today, there are countless varieties and options to choose from. Many terms have been used to explain the variety of bras, which can make bra shopping very confusing.
The bra is composed of many parts and components. The way they are cut, assembled and sewn together has a big impact on how the bra will fit the woman’s unique shape. There are three main parts of a bra: the band, the cups and the straps. Here are some of the components that go into construction of a bra: underwire, side boning, rings and sliders, hook-and-eye closure, and etc.
Below is a list of the most common types of bra and a short explanation about them.
Pre-formed or not?
They have pre-shaped, molded cups with some kind of padding. While creating a lovely, rounded shape, they are also comfortable under outfits.
The cups are usually unpadded and soft. They show off the natural curve of the breasts and feel light and airy. They can be opaque or sheer and flirty.
As the main part of a bra, the cups primary role is to encase the breasts. They could be made of one or a few pieces, padded or unpadded, lined or unlined, pre-shaped or non-shaped, and also may contain underwire or not.
Cups can be further broken down into different pieces: the upper cup, under cup (bottom cup), and the cup side.
The bra band is the part that runs around the rib cage. The cups are attached to the front of the bra band and the straps to the back. The closure, like hook-and eye, is typically located at the back or rarely at the front of the band. The center gore is actually a part of the band.
The bra band contributes the most to correct bra-fit. In a well-designed bra, most of the weight of the breast is distributed throughout the bra band. If the bra band is not tight enough, or otherwise ill-fitting, the bra will ultimately be uncomfortable and unsupportive. As such, it is imperative to wear the correct band size.
The front strap is variable. In a full cup bra, the strap will be centered - excellent for sloping shoulders, or in the case of a balcony bra, the straps will be closer to the arms and generally show more cleavage.
This type of padding is thicker at the bottom of the cups and gradually decreases to a thinner layer towards the top of the cup, creating light push-up effect and the appearance of increased cleavage
Inner sling is a support feature built into the bra's cup usually for fuller-busted sizes. They are curved strips of fabric, which follow the natural curve of the bra similar to an underwire, except they are soft and built into the design of the cup, creating an extra side layer of support. The inner side support sling's role is to project the breasts forward and centered in the cup. It helps to avoid spreading the breasts too far apart. Moreover, the inner sling shapes, rounds and lifts the breasts.
Leotard / U-Shaped Back
The leotard back get its name because the shape is similar to that of a ballet leotard – the band curves down from the wider wings to the closure. The straps and the band, together, form a ‘U’ outline where one strap ends up to the other in a smooth, continuous line.
The leotard or U-shaped back provides more bust line support and prevents the straps from sliding or falling off the shoulders. This style is particularly good for fuller figures and full busted women who need the additional support.
Balconette / Balcony BraShop Balcony Bras
A balcony, or balconette, bra is a popular everyday style with a low cut that still provides good coverage. The wires form a half circle and enclose the lower part of your chest, resulting in a modest cleavage. The straps in balconette bra are closer to the arms and generate balcony style fit.
The balcony bra works for every type of breast and works with every type of clothing.
Full Cup BraShop Full Cup Bras
A full cup bra covers more than other bra types. The cups extend higher up over the bust. Full cup bras are usually perceived as the most comfortable bra type, especially among women who need a lot of support. These supportive bras give a great shape, whether underwired or non-wired and with or without padding.
Plunge BraShop Plunge Bras
A plunge bra is designed to reveal more breast for a sexier look. Plunge bras create the appearance of increased cleavage because of their deep (plunging) front silhouette, angled cups and thin center gore. The plunging bra is a popular choice under feminine outfits with a low neckline.
Spacer BraShop Spacer Bras
Spacer bra is made out of special 3D designed fabric, similar to honeycomb, which is very soft and lightweight. Spacer fabric is constructed of two layers of thin fabric knitted together with a microfilament yarn resulting in a very breathable inner layer. This dual layer 3D fabric design is the latest tech development in the bra industry. The 3D design makes the bra light and airy, allowing your skin to breath naturally. Moreover, the spacer fabric allows the cup to mould to your breast shape for comfort while still maintaining that smooth outer style for the seamless look. Thus, for the above reasons, the spacer bra is not consider either as padded or unpadded bra– it is somewhere between them.